Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 111,440,479 Issue: 193 | 2nd day of Relaxing, Y7
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Mary Yearning


by scarletrhapsody

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Prologue

"Mary, Mary, quite contrary; How does your Neogarden grow?…"

     Like any other night, my owner was sitting by my bed, reading my favourite poem from the book Neopian Nursery Rhymes, while I lay snug under my covers, my eyes slowly growing heavy.

     "That's all for tonight, Mary. You must be sleepy now." She kissed me goodnight and flicked off the table lamp.

     Total darkness ensued as she closed the bedroom door behind her. I stared up into the ceiling, thinking over what had taken place this morning.

     ***

     "Good morning, Mary," my owner called cheerfully. In response, I smiled back to her. It was time for breakfast, and the delicious aroma of freshly cooked omelettes filled the pristine kitchen. One good thing about waking up early was being able to enjoy such wondrously warm omelettes. Which was why, though I liked sleeping in till the sun got too hot to bear, I always made it a point to wake up early. Especially when it cheered my owner up so much.

     Indeed I loved making her happy.

     "Thank you," I said as she gently placed an omelette on my plate. There were only the two of us in the kitchen, but the saccharin warmth and contentment with our lives was enough for me. I was more than happy.

     In fact, contentment was extremely important to us. After all, we were literally living below the line of poverty. Our Neohome was shabbily built and threatened to collapse any time. We only had omelettes - omelettes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Contentment with our poverty was what kept us going as a Neo-family. Though we could not afford items of luxury like bicycles and neggs, at least we have each other.

     "Mary," my owner suddenly spoke up. "You've always wanted to know the meaning of your name. I guess this is the right time to tell you."

     I glanced up with interest.

     "Mary_Yearning," she said, looking out of the window, as if reminiscing her days as a newbie. "I always loved the name Mary. It somehow reminded me of purity, of innocence, and of gentleness. And I want you to be just like how the name suggests - gentle and pure. My little angel." As she spoke, she reached out her hand to stroke the sparse fur on my head.

     "Then what about Yearning?" I asked naively.

     "When I first started out, I was to choose a Neopet from the many different species. I couldn't find one that really suited me, one that could connect emotionally with me. But then I saw it. Though it was large in size and did not look very agile, I saw how innocent it looked. It was a gentle and meek creature, as much as it's size begged to differ. It was the perfect pet I was looking for."

     My eyes widened with surprise as I listened. Looking down at my small built that was typical of all Shoyrus, I could not comprehend what my owner was talking about. Unless, that is, the dream pet she was speaking of was not me.

     Then the truth hit me.

     "Mary, I have always wanted a Chomby. But it was only too bad that it was a limited edition pet, and I could not have it even if I wanted to. And so I resorted to picking another pet species randomly, and thus you were born.

     "I wished one day you would turn into a Chomby, just like the perfect pet I saw. It was my greatest yearning, and so I named you Mary_Yearning."

     I slumped back in my chair.

     "All this while, from the time you were born, I wanted a Chomby so badly. Yet I couldn't afford a morphing potion or the secret lab ray map pieces, and so you stayed the way you were. And because I was too poor to keep yet another pet - think about all the food and medical expenses - I could do nothing but wish every day and every night…"

     I could not believe this was my owner speaking. What about all the lessons of contentment which she taught me? What about how she always said she loved me as I am? Was she lying all along? Why didn't she consider my feelings before telling me all these? I always thought that it did not matter that we were poor, for at the very least we took pride in who we were. Now, she was destroying that very pride that I held so dear to my heart - my pride as a Shoyru, my pride as my owner's loyal pet.

     "Recently I heard a rumour," she continued, ignoring the discouraged look on my face. In fact, she was smiling now, caught up in her own thoughts. "More Chombies are going to be released, and they're all up for adoption. I don't want to miss this chance, Mary. It's a once in a lifetime thing. I know I'll like one of them here…"

     My heart flinched, and my face contorted into a look of disgust. I couldn't help but feel a stab at my heart each time she said the word "I". To her, it seemed now, everything that ever mattered was getting a Chomby, for her own selfish pleasure.

     "But I'll need your help, Mary." Now she was looking in my direction, though not straight into my eyes like she used to. She turned away again and continued, as if guilty of what she was going to say. "I know you've always wanted me to be happy. Now…it's either you or the Chomby. I can't have two pets - it's too much for me…"

     Contempt burnt in me as I came to realise what she was asking me to do. I could take it no longer.

     "You should be ashamed of yourself! Do I not deserve your love simply because I'm a Shoyru, and not some stupid Chomby? Am I that worthless in your eyes? Am I not the pet you once loved? Or have you never once felt affection for me?" As I screamed, hot, angry tears flowed. My outburst seemed to shock her, for she froze in her seat, staring at me. Something in her eyes told me she was disappointed. Possibly disappointed that I was not her meek and obedient pet, disappointed that I had become such a violent, shrieking beast whom she never knew.

     But did she know that I was equally, if not more, disappointed in her?

     -

     In my fury, I ran out of the place I once called home, taking off into the air. For once, I felt the entire world was crashing down around me. I must be the most unfortunate pet in all of Neopia.

     I couldn't stop crying. My blue face was marked with ugly tearstains, as if they're a reflection of the wounds on my heart. As I remembered what my owner said, every word seemed to be a cruel knife, ruthlessly piercing through my heart, hurting it even more.

     No, I thought to myself. I mustn't cry for an owner like that. She does not deserve my tears.

     After a while of flying I got tired, so I landed in a clearing. Strangely, I felt vaguely as if I had been to this place before, though I could not remember it vividly. My eyes caught sight of a large building nearby, and instantly, as if instinctively, I walked over to it.

     Inside were hundreds and hundreds of Neopians and newly adopted pets. No wonder I found this place so familiar. This was the building for the creation of new pets! Now I remember - I was here only once in my life, when I was just a newly created Shoyru. Right smacked at the centre was a counter marked "Pet Registration". That was the place for deciding on the names and interests of new Neopets.

     I strode to the Pet Registration counter, where every departing Neopian held their new pet's paw ever so tightly, as if afraid of losing them. As the Neopians filled up the form on the pet's name, colour, and interests, I noticed a small area beside the counter. There, the pets were made to read out a small paragraph before they were handed over to their new owner.

     Not meaning to eavesdrop, I overheard a young Chia proclaim loudly, "…I shall be loyal to my owner, obeying him, loving him, and meeting his every need, in times of health or sickness, in times of peace or trouble. I shall not turn against him, and most of all, I shall love him with all my heart, as a pet would love its owner…"

     "I shall be loyal to my owner, obeying him, loving him, and meeting his every need…" those words echoed in my mind. They seemed to speak specifically to me only, reminding me of the promises I made when I was just a small Neopet. Yet, what am I doing now? What kind of a loyal pet was I?

     A painful tinge of guilt shot through my heart as I was reminded of how I always used to strive to make my owner happy, whatever it took. Almost immediately, I ran out of the building and flew right back to my Neohome.

     ***

     Epilogue

     "You were right, I really was too selfish. I only thought about how I wanted a Chomby so much. But you know what? When you were gone this morning, all I yearned for is you coming back to me. Partly because I was guilty that I completely neglected your feelings, but I know mostly it's because I love you. I've never said this, but I love you, Mary. Truly, truly because of who you are."

     A tear fell on my cheek. I was lying on my bed, and like any other night, my owner was sitting by my bed. Yet, unlike any other night, she did not have Neopian Nursery Rhymes opened up on her lap.

     "So…you won't put me in the pound?"

     She shook her head. Sincerely.

     "May I have a request?" I asked again.

     "Sure."

     "Can you read Neopian Nursery Rhymes for me?"

     "Of course," she picked up the book.

     "Mary, Mary, quite contrary; How does your Neogarden grow?…"

The End

 
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